What is the value of population growth? It’s a bizarre philosophical question given that we, as a species like almost all others, ascribe an almost supernatural importance to the emergence of a new one of us in a hospital delivery room.
We’re not alone in this: elephants, octopi, fruit flies and shrimp all behave the same way when a new one of theirs comes into being.
It can only be among some of us humans that the idea of “being fruitful and multiplying” is not always smiled upon.
Imagine, there are those among us who fret about something called overpopulation. Maybe in a lifeboat adrift at sea can such a question credibly gain traction. But otherwise, what is the carrying capacity of Earth, when it comes to humans? You simply can’t have too many. If it’s a function of population versus resources, then the obvious answer is to expand the resources, not to starve the people.
This, of course, is the genius of being human, and not an apricot. Humans are those among us who can alter their environment to increase the resources at their disposal. We are not slaves to a diet of mice, the way your ladyship, the household cat, is. Cats, even yours, can’t open a can of tuna, much less go shopping for one.
The essential element of being human is our ability to accommodate more of us not just by stealing or expanding the perimeter of a corn field, but by inventing ways and means for more of us to occupy the same space, and with gains in medicine and health, adding to the life expectancy of everybody, too, All the while, each and every new one of us is greeted with love and empathy overflowing.
The City of Falls Church is only two square miles and readily sustains a population of, now, 14,618. That’s over 7,000 per square mile. And we’d bet that added onto that are a few thousand doggies, kitties, hamsters and goldfish.
Surprisingly, there are only five nations with a population density greater than Falls Church’s: Macau, Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong and Gibraltar, according to the encyclopedia. Populations and densities are: Macau (631,636 in 12 square miles, 54,531 per square mile), Monaco (38,684 in a single square mile), Singapore (5,757,499 in 276 square miles), Hong Kong (7,371,730 in 426 square miles) and Gibraltar (33,718 in two square miles). All of these very people-dense places make the case that it’s quite possible to remain comfortable in small places.
Nobody ought to be feeling cramped by the high population density of our Little City now, even though it’s among the highest in the world. Projecting ahead, we can double our population without having to enlarge our size. The only downside may be parking and traffic, but our local government is on top of preparing for what that might bring.